‘Y&R’, ‘Guiding Light’ soap actress dies aged 76

(NEXTSTAR) – Jennifer Leake, a former actress who appeared on numerous soap operas including “The Young and the Restless” and “Another World,” has died after a battle with a rare neurological disease, her husband confirmed in an obituary published by a Long Island News outlet.

Leake, 76, died March 18 at his home, she said.

Jennifer Leek
A promotional photo for the CBS soap opera “The Young and the Restless” shows actress Jennifer Leake in 1974. (CBS via Getty Images)

The actress, who began her show business career in the ’60s, appeared on programs such as “Hawaii Five-O,” “Macmillan & Wife” and “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” before making the rounds on several popular soap operas, including “The Young and the Restless,” “Ryan’s Hope,” “Another World,” “Guiding Light” and “One Life to Live,” per IMDb.

Viewers also recognize Leake as one of the many northern children starring Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda in 1968’s “Yours, Mine and Ours.”

Jennifer Leake Lucille Ball Yours, Mine and Ours
Lucille Ball is pictured with Jennifer Leake (back row, right) and other cast members from 1968’s “Yours, Mine and Ours.” (Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Leake’s husband James D’Auria said East Hampton Star that his wife was diagnosed with progressive supranuclear palsy about 7 years ago. Described by the Mayo Clinic as a rare brain disease, Progressive supranuclear palsy Impairs a patient’s ability to control “body movements, coordination, thinking and other important functions.”

“His courage and bravery were in vain trying to fight the disease,” D’Auria wrote in a statement released in the obituary.

Leake’s first husband, actor Tim Matheson, whom she met while working on “Yours, Mine and Ours,” also paid tribute to the actress on Facebook, calling her “an amazing woman.”

“It is with a heavy heart that I share the news of Jennifer Leake’s death. She was not only my on-screen sister but also my beloved first wife in the film “Tomar, Mere and Us”. Matheson wrote Wednesday. “Jennifer was an extraordinary woman, strong, beautiful and incredibly talented. My deepest condolences go out to her husband of 47 years, James D’Auria, and their many friends.

Leake’s ashes will be buried near his hometown of Cardiff, Wales, according to the East Hampton Star. D’Auria said his brain tissue was also donated to the Mayo Clinic for research.

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